Metatopia 2014

Over the past few weeks I went to two tabletop events: Sasquatch Board Games Festival in Seattle, WA, and Metatopia in Morristown, NJ. This is the second time I've gone to Sasquatch. It's a great way to get exposed to hot, newly released tabletop games while having fun with friends. It was my first time going to Metatopia - a more industry-populated event for designers, publishers, and playtesters.

Metatopia ran from the evening of Thursday, Nov. 6 through Sunday, Nov. 9. I brought Knee Jerk, Potioncraft (working title) and The Game of Super Powers (super working title). I scheduled two playtests for each game.

I arrived on Thursday evening. After meeting my friendly but fever-stricken roommate and buying a crazy number of preventative medical supplies (saline spray, Lysol wipes... even medical masks!), I headed down to the game scene. Past con friends Kevin Chang of Rushdown Games and JR Honeycutt of every-convention-ever were there, as well as their buddies (they would soon become mine too :). Here we are playing our third game of Potioncraft:

They really dug the game, and we discussed it several times throughout Metatopia. Friday I held a playtest of each Knapsack game. First was Super Powers. We played a few times, and then mostly talked about theme, components and product value proposition. Playtesters agreed that it was good, but not yet great.

Next was Potioncraft. This test was helpful in figuring out the best way to teach people the game: 2 players, beginner-powers only, all game mechanics intact. Everyone in this test really enjoyed it, playing multiple games within the session.


The last playtest that night was for Knee Jerk. The new theme pack content went over really well, and a brand new game variant popped out of this playtest. We also iterated on other variants.

Saturday I played others' games, including a neat deckbuilding game called The Elementalists by Erik Herrington. Later in the day was more Potioncraft playtesting.


Knee Jerk was our final playtest of the day again. I don't have a picture, but this was a blind playtest of the current variant rules. It was interesting, because playtesters had to learn and play the base game from the rules, and then learn and play each variant from the rules. As with many blind playtests, this was painful to watch but worth it :) There were a few key things missing in the variant rules that needed to be there. All in all the variants went over pretty well despite the rough rules and loud atmosphere.

Chris from Cardboard Edison showed me their upcoming game Dubai afterwards. I didn't get to play, but it seems like a neat euro to watch out for.

Sunday was an unexpectedly productive day. We ended up playtesting Super Powers for around 2.5 hours. After many iterations of crazy ways it could work, we found that tweaking just two little things from the current rules made the game more interactive and fun. I really hope we can streamline and expand upon the game content to bring this beyond its current micro-game form (28 cards for 2-4 players). I'd like to bring it to market as a more substantial product if possible.

Metatopia contributed solid progress to every Knapsack game. I also saw some valuable panels. It was great meeting everyone, and I hope to see some of you at BGG.CON! I'll have my box o' goodies of course.